The idea is one that’s still interesting, and some writers are still trying to match Lamar Jackson and the Detroit Lions.
In a broad sense, within the notion Jared Goff is not a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, I’m fully on board with the idea of the Detroit Lions pursuing Lamar Jackson. That would now be via an offer sheet, which the Baltimore Ravens can simply match after another team did all the negotiating work for them.
An offer sheet that is not matched by the Ravens for Jackson means surrendering two first-round picks to them for him. For the Lions that would be the 18th overall pick this year and whatever their 2024 first-round pick ended up being, in the 20s overall if things go as hoped.
I have pretty much given up on the idea the Lions could, would, or will pursue Jackson. But the aggressive mode of general manager Brad Holmes in free agency this year pulls the door back open ever so slightly, and keeps the door to speculation open.
Lamar Jackson to the Detroit Lions speculation not quite going away yet
Just this week, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports and Sheil Kapadia of The Ringer have both suggested the Lions as the team that should pursue Jackson.
Here’s a sample of what Benjamin wrote:
….Detroit has signaled with its busy offseason that it’s ready to go from scrappy spoiler to spicy contender. After adding basically five veteran starters in free agency, including running back David Montgomery and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, what better way for Motown to further demand the spotlight than by juicing up the QB spot? Jared Goff is well-liked but easily expendable; a post-June 1 cut would save almost $21 million, and the Lions already have roughly $26M in cap space. Better yet, they’ve got multiple first- and second-round draft picks this year as ammo.
But if there’s one team that has to at least set up a meeting, it’s the Lions. Jared Goff played well last year, but we now have seven seasons’ worth of evidence telling us who Goff is. If the circumstances (play-calling, offensive line, weapons) are set up favorably, he can absolutely run an efficient offense. But he doesn’t offer the same upside that Jackson does.
The Lions have built their roster the right way. If the season started today, they’d probably be the favorites in the NFC North. But the conference is wide open, and every organization is chasing sustained success. For the Lions, that means not being risk-averse and at least looking into the possibility of adding a former MVP QB.
Jackson creates Super Bowl upside for whatever new team he joins, of course assuming he’s indeed done with the Ravens like Pro Football Talk reported.
The Lions have shown calculated aggression this offseason, driven by Holmes, in a way that suggests they believe they are close to being a serious Super Bowl contender in a wide-open NFC. The final step is a quarterback with better upside than Goff. So the idea of making a move for Jackson lingers, even as it seems to be most-realistically fading.